Saturday, February 26, 2011

If you want to feel loved on your birthday sign up for Facebook

For those of you who aren't on Facebook, there's a place on your home page that tells you whose birthday it is every day (from your friends list).  I wish my email address book did that for me.  I love this feature.  Today I especially loved it because I got over 50 birthday wishes.  I doubt 50 people ever knew it was my birthday before I signed up for Facebook.  I know you're probably thinking, who cares, these are people you went to high school with, old neighbors, church friends or aunts, uncles and cousins you haven't seen in years.  I actually think that's special.  I have lots of cousins, aunts and uncles.  My parents are from families of 10 and 12 so we have lost touch over the years.  Now we read about what each other are doing and say happy birthday to each other.  It's just a little way we can feel a connection over the miles and years.  I appreciated all the Happy Birthdays today, thanks.

It was a perfect day.  James and I went to a salvage yard to look at old rusty gates/fencing trying to decide what we might make into some garden gates.  We didn't buy anything but it was fun getting ideas.  We had lunch at Panera Bread Co. then stopped at some friend's house unannounced and visited a bit.  James baked me (ok, us) some chocolate chip cookies instead of a cake because cookies are my favorite dessert.

My birthday present? 
In another month I'll be posting pictures of cute little chicks.  Hopefully this week I'll be posting pictures of baby goats. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Gotta feelin' 48 is gonna be a good year

Remember that song 1921 by The Who from the movie Tommy (Pinball Wizard)?  I love that whole soundtrack.  I wish there was a way to post music playing in the background of the blog but I haven't figured a way to do that yet.  Here's a link to a recording of it in case you like the song too.  The lyrics begin -

Got a feeling '21
Is going to be a good year,
Especially if you and me
See it in together.

Of course the song gets more depressing as you listen farther because the boy becomes deaf, dumb and blind after seeing a murder.  Ok, so forget that part.

Anyway, that song popped into my head today after getting a phone call from an old friend.  He called to wish me happy birthday.  Tomorrow I turn 48.  He and I usually only talk once or twice a year, on our birthdays.  That's when we catch up.  He's 68.  We talked about what the best years of our life are.  I told him I like the age I am now and he proceeded to tell me the best years are from ages 45 to 65.  I've heard this before so I'm glad to know I have 17 more really good years left.  He sounded really happy so I'll assume 68 isn't so bad either. 

I love birthdays, always have.  They're kind of like New Year's day.  I feel hopeful for what's to come.  I hope I still feel that way when I turn 66. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Discussions on the goat forum

 I've mentioned many times how I'm part of a goat forum.  I look at it every day.  For those of you who might find it interesting, here's a link to the Homesteading Today Goat Forum

I have learned so much from this group and there is almost always someone viewing so you can get a quick answer if you need one.  Also, many of the people on there who have been raising goats for years will give you their phone number in case of an emergency.  It's a friendly group who shares a passion for goats, mostly dairy.

This time of year is one of the most fun and possibly disturbing times of year to be reading the forum.  Fun because people are posting pictures of baby goats since it's kidding season.  Disturbing because people post some pretty horrible kidding experiences.  Many pictures are posted that would gross a non-goat person out.  Then there are the baby pictures.  No one can get enough of them.  There's a rule on this forum, if you tell about a birth we don't believe it happened unless you post pictures.

The neat thing about this group is that you can ask a question as a newcomer that has been asked a thousand times but the oldtimers still answer it.  No question is stupid.   Today I got a good laugh at one of the questions.  Most of the people in the group (not all, but a very large percentage) are women.  Someone asked how you can tell if a goat is pregnant.  I answered, "late in the pregnancy she may begin to develop an udder and her vulva will become swollen".  The person wrote back, "what is a vulva, or do I not want to know?"  I have to wonder if this is a man, woman or child who asked this question.   If you go to the forum you can follow the replies to this.    The original post (thread) is, How doas a pregnant goat look like.

This is a blog posting that only I (or other goat people) will find interesting.  That's why there are forums, for people of the same minds to gather when no one else may understand or care.  Homesteading Today has many different forums to follow.  You might find one that suits you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maple syrup - take two

Even though our first attempt at making syrup was successful we wanted to find a better and quicker way to cook it down since we still had so much maple sap left to use, maybe 100 gallons or so.

Susan called our friend who taught us to make the syrup and asked if she had any suggestions for quicker cooking.  She put her in touch with a couple who had an evaporator that was made out of an old oil tank.  They had used this for making syrup for many years but no longer used it.  We rented it from them in exchange for some syrup. 

Wow, what a difference.  We went through the sap so much faster than when we used the pans on our barbecue pit.   Notice how Susan has the easy job of holding up the tank while I do the back breaking work of snapping twigs for the fire.
James was the other slacker.  All he had to do was gather wood and cut it up.  Sheesh, I don't know why I work with these two.
 It was an enjoyable afternoon watching the sap cook down.  
Once we cooked the bulk of it down we decided we should move it into something smaller and deeper so it wouldn't scorch.  We borrowed a giant cast iron  pot from my friend, Colleen, and transferred the liquid to it.  I should also mention we borrowed cinder blocks from another friend to raise the tank up off the ground.  They say it takes a village to raise a child.  It also takes one to make maple syrup.
Once again, when it got down low we brought it inside and cooked the rest of it down on our stove where we could control the temperature.  From the sap we collected in a week and a half we got close to 4 gallons of syrup.  Here's some of it.  Notice how some is very pale and some darker.  The pale syrup is much thinner and not as sweet (but still very sweet and delicious) as the dark.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making maple syrup

This turned out to be a bigger job than we thought.  Making maple syrup sounded simple - tap your trees, collect the sap, cook it down and ta da, you have syrup. 

Tapping the trees was fun.  It took longer than I thought though, mostly because we had to gather the right equipment to do it.  (see earlier post).  For 5 days we walked down the hill to empty the pails.

We stored the sap in a large cooler and 2 garbage cans.  The garbage cans were brand new and I hadn't planned on them leaking.  Oops.  Luckily James caught that very early on before we lost much sap.  I siliconed the seams and then put heavy duty trash bags in them.  This was kept in the shade until we could cook it down.

In the meantime, Susan was gathering wood and searching for the elusive perfect pan to use for evaporating.  In the end we settled on 3 pans, one large and 2 smaller.  Yesterday was the big day.  We were going to have syrup by the day's end.  We just didn't know the day was going to be so long.  Susan arrived at 9AM.  We probably got the fire going by 10:30 with sap cooking above.  On top of each pan we had a wire rack with a metal can on top.  We punched holes (first too big that's why you see a puppy on the can before we started and a snowman in the later picture) about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom.  The reason for this was so the sap in the pans below could continue to boil and the sap in the cans above would slowly drip, so as not to ruin the boil. 

This all makes perfect sense, in theory.  Unfortunately we had a very hard time keeping the sap at a consistent boil because we'd add too much wood or not enough.  Also, we had all different kinds of wood and some burned hotter.  And so we sat.....and we watched.....and we waited.....more wood, more sap and the hours passed.  All the while we tried to maintain a good level of syrup in the lower pans so it wouldn't burn, never removing any, just adding.  Remember, it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.
At 5:30 Susan had to go home.  She took the syrup from the 2 side pans home with her to finish boiling down on her stove.  I sat outdoors and watched the fire for another 2 hours then brought the syrup in to do the final boiling on my stove so I could control the heat and not burn it.  It took me another 2 1/2 hours.  I knew it would be done when it reached a boiling temperature of 7 degrees above the boiling point of water and had a specific gravity of 1.37.  I have a hydrometer for my wine making so we relied mostly on it to tell us when the syrup was done.  Using a hydrometer is pretty cool.  The longer we cooked the syrup (and water boiled off), the higher it would float in the syrup. 
Next we filtered the syrup.  There were little black things floating in it from the fire and from the trees we collected from.

  • We finally finished around midnight.  We got 2 1/2 quarts from the pan we cooked down and I haven't heard how much Susan got yet (I'm hoping she got another 1 1/2 quarts).  I'm guessing we cooked about 30 gallons of sap so I'm pretty pleased with the amount of syrup we got.  It's really delicious and it's pretty too isn't it?
 We still have 60 or 70 gallons of sap in our cans and more collecting in our buckets.  We need to find a bigger pan to cover more surface area on the grill so we don't waste so much heat.  I don't know if we'll cook much more down or not.  This could take days.  It seems a shame to waste the sap though.  Would anyone like some to cook down?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Paintings of my goats

I'm one of those lucky people who has a friend who is a great artist.  I think everyone should have an artist as a friend.  I'm fortunate to have several.

Today James got the mail and said, "you got something from Laura (Laura Orrison, the soon-to-be famous goat artist)".  I was pretty sure I knew what it was when I saw the size of the envelope.  Well, I was knocked off my socks.  It was even better than I thought it was going to be.  First I saw Clarice.  "Aww, look she painted Clarice".  Clarice is one of my sweetest, gentlest goats.
As I handled the print of the painting 2 other pictures slid into view.  "oh there's more".  "Oh my gosh, Pessa".
Pessa has heavy eyelids and I think Laura captured her sleepy-looking expression perfectly.  Something else she captured is Pessa's big barreled tummy.  In this painting I can tell that Pessa hasn't eaten in a while, though other people could never tell that.  A mother knows.  By the way, Clarice is Pessa's daughter. You'd never know it, looking at the ears.

This painting takes the cake, though.  It's Witty, my buck, in all his Witty-ness.  
I think he makes a perfect model.  He's a handsome subject don't you think?

Laura, you have found your calling, painting goats.  Thank you so much.  I can't wait to see your paintings of my donkeys.

I think I should become Laura's manager.  Would anyone like a portrait of their pet?  Get your checkbooks out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tapping our maple trees

I hope our maple syrup making is more successful than my lard rendering.  Last night the temperature was well below freezing and this afternoon the thermometer neared 50, a perfect day for gathering the sap (or water, as I've heard a more experienced maple syrup guy say) from our maple trees.  I had ordered 5 buckets and 10 spiles (taps or spouts) off ebay to get us started. 

It was actually pretty exciting to see how the sap came dripping out almost immediately after we drilled the 7/16's inch hole and inserted the spile.  James yelled, "quick, put the bucket under. We don't want to waste any", which is kind of funny because one of our trees was dripping all over anyway.  It fell from the branches and dripped on our heads. 

It was a big tree, probably more than 3 1/2 feet in diameter.  We were told we have 15 sugar maples in our yard and probably lots more down by the river but we concentrated on about 6 trees today. 

My friend, Susan, and I recently attended a poultry and garden club meeting where they had a guest speaker (thank you Elizabeth) teaching us how to make maple syrup.  Susan is a better listener than I so it's good she was here today to help us do this.  My friend, Pat, showed up with about 20 kitty litter buckets she got from the Humane Society to use as collection buckets since I was too cheap to buy more metal ones on ebay. 

I'm amazed how fast the sap is collecting.  We will dump it into large trash cans and then when we have enough to make a good amount of syrup we'll begin the evaporating.  I think this will be within the week.  Stay tuned for another blogging about maple syrup.  It takes 40 parts sap to make 1 part syrup. 

Listen to the sap drip into the metal bucket. 

I'm sure anyone driving by our house is wondering why we have cat litter buckets hanging on our trees.  It's not a pretty sight.  These buckets are fed by 3 inch pieces of PVC we cut to fit.  They seem to work just as well as the ones we paid money for. 
Can you see the little PVC "spile"?
Just so you know, we washed the cat litter buckets before we used them.

To be continued.............

Goat Spa days

I'm sure my girls didn't think it felt like spa day yesterday but I like to call it that.  Since most of my girls are due to kid within the month I gave them their CD&T vaccines.  This prevents 3 different clostridial diseases - tetanus, overeating disease and some other bacterial disease.  The babies will get this through their mothers, that's why it is done the last month of pregnancy.  The goats don't even act like they feel this shot.  After their vaccines  we shaved their backsides and udders so it stays relatively clean during kidding.  Also, it gives me a good look at their udders and makes it easier to milk without pulling hairs when the time comes.  It was exciting to see the udders developing on the first timers.  I sat out with them for a few hours just watching them all and trying to feel for babies kicks.  Not long now.

Today they all get manicures.  I always feel so good after their hooves are trimmed.  I wonder if they do.

Even though they protest a bit, I really think they like their spa days because afterward they are all cuddly and fighting for my attention.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rendering lard

Growing up I don't think I ever heard the word lard unless it was used in a derogatory fashion, like tub o lard (we pronounced it tubbalard) or lard ass.   I don't recall ever having lard in our house.  We used Crisco or butter.  Maybe my mom would save bacon fat to cook with but I don't think she ever bought lard.  Did you, Mom?

Well, after packaging up the sausage yesterday I couldn't resist bringing home some of the fat from the pig to render it to make it into a lard I could use for soap or something like shortening.  I had to Google "rendering lard" to find out how to do it.  This is what I did.  I cut up the leaf lard - the lard from the stomach area.  I'm told this is the best fat on the pig, the stuff you use for cooking, not making soap.  I cut it into 1/2 inch pieces, covered my cast iron pot with 1/4 inch of water and placed the fat in with the small amount of water.
I cooked it on low and kept stirring.  The pieces of fat kept getting smaller and smaller and there was more clear liquid in the pot.  After a few hours of doing this the pieces got very small and sunk to the bottom of the pot.  I read that this is when it's done.
Those little pieces left in the bottom are called cracklings (or cracklin's).  Some people cook these on top their cornbread.  Our chickens enjoyed them.  I drained the lard through a cheese cloth to separate the cracklin's from the lard.
 I put the rendered lard in the refrigerator to chill it.  Here is the finished product.
I smelled it and it smelled like pork fat.  Hmm, if I make soap with this I'll either have to use lots of essentials oils for fragrance or we'll go around smelling like we just got done frying french fries at McDonalds.

I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishments - a real country girl I am.  That is, until I called Tommy to ask him what the fat was called that came from the stomach area (the leaf lard).  I told him what I did.  He said, "can you smell it?"

"Yeah, I can smell it."

"No, I mean, can you SMELL it, smell it?"

"Yeah, I can SMELL it, smell it."

"Well, then you cooked it too long."

Turns out, you're supposed to keep pouring off the liquid as you cook it.  I let it all stay in the pot the whole time until I thought it all had melted.  What I have is like what you drain off bacon when you cook it, minus the little crumblies of meat.

Google failed me this time.  I should have known to ask my friends, like Geraldine and Tommy, who have done this a bunch, how they do it and not rely on strangers.

Back to the drawing board.  James assures me I'm not a failure.  Tommy was also kind to tell me I didn't do it wrong but I don't know why he would say that.  I'm not giving up.  I'm going to get it right.

All this time I thought lard was really bad for us, as in, going to block our arteries and put us in an early grave.  Then what do I read?   Oh, lard is lower in trans fats than butter?????  I know I shouldn't trust Google but there are so many websites telling me lard isn't as bad as we thought growing up in the 60's and 70's.

Here are a few sites that argue a case for lard.

Monday, February 7, 2011


No, I'm not drunk (as in that kind of soused).  I used this word because I thought it would get your attention, much the same as this picture may.
Today James and I had another new experience.  We helped cut up a hog and make it into sausage.  One of the definitions for souse is:   It is a molded jelly or sausage made from pig’s or calf’s head stewed with herbs and seasonings; it includes meat.  Also called head cheese, it's something of a staple in soul food.  

We didn't actually make souse, though the head was cut up to use for bacon and we were told the brain and tongue were some of the best parts of the pig's head.  I'm not sure we'll ever know if that's true or not.  We spent most of our day learning about where the cuts of pork come from and how sausage is made.  Seriously, I had NO idea.  James and I did as we were told, "Cut this like this.  Put this here.  See this?  That's the good part".  Our teacher, Tommy, seems to think we could do this ourselves.  He has a lot more confidence in us than I do.  

It was all very interesting and I enjoyed doing it with James and the other folks helping, including 12 and 14 year old girls who breezed though it like it was nothing they hadn't seen before, which they had.  The 12 year old even has her own butchering knives.
We took a break for lunch around 2:30.  Guess what was for lunch.  Yup, you got it, pork chops.  After lunch we got to the sausage making process where we ground up the meat and added the seasoning.   Each time we made a batch Tommy would cook up a sausage patty and we'd all taste it to see if it was good enough or if it needed more seasoning.  This pile of meat is about half the sausage we made.
After handling all that meat and fat today we came home and had a salad for dinner.  We were sent home with some bacon to have for breakfast tomorrow morning. 

This coming Saturday we're going back to see the beginning phase of the butchering process which we missed with this hog.  This might be a bit tougher to see. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The view from my window

It's not the most beautiful view from our house, but it's the one I like best.  As I sit here at my desk checking emails, goat forums or blog, I look at my computer screen for a few minutes and then look out my window to see what the animals are doing. 
This photo was taken this morning before I went out to feed them.  The goats stay in their barns until the first rays of sunshine peek over the mountains.  For those of you who have indoor pets you know how dogs and cats seek the sunny spot on the floor in the winter, no matter how small that spot is.   Almost as if an alarm went off (or rooster) the goats and donkeys exit the barns at the same time and stand with their sides facing the sun.  Sometimes they don't move for a very long time.  I hate disturbing this tranquil scene but the moment I walk out the door I've spoiled the quietude.  This is when I hear all the voices, and they all have unique sounds, calling my name, "Maaaaam".   Maybe they're not really calling my name, maybe they're saying, "feed us".  It sounds more like Mom to me so I'm going to stick with that.  I don't know what the heehaws sound like but it's definitely not "Mom".  I think if they knew I was watching them out the window they'd be screaming at me most of the day.

One of my biggest talkers is Daisy.  Daisy has recovered remarkably well after her rough kidding experience Monday night.  Tuesday morning she wanted to be with the other goats and has been acting like her old self ever since.  Her bottom still looks very swollen and sore but I don't think it's bothering her too much.  She loves being spoiled because I feel sorry for her.
This next picture has nothing to do with what I see out my window but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. 
They're ice jewels.  When it warms up outside and I turn the hose on all these little jewels come shooting out.  I think they're so pretty.  They look like crystals for a chandelier.  I also like the clinking noise they make as they pile up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The food we eat and the people we meet

This morning Tommy showed up for a visit around 10:00  with a 300 lb hog in the back of his truck.  This Saturday he'll begin butchering it, but not after saying a prayer over it.  James and I plan to watch him cut it up and make it into sausage on Monday.   We talked about respecting animals and recognizing where our food comes from.  As we talked he helped me wire some more fencing to our cattle panels.  I really enjoyed his visit.  I had just met him the day before at another friend's farm.

Tonight James and I watched a recording of Oprah.  Her guests were Michael Pollan and Kathy Freston.  I enjoyed listening to Mr. Pollan as he talked about knowing our food and where it comes from.  Listening to Kathy Freston talk about veganism made me bristle.  She took an Oprah family shopping for food that had no animal products in it to show them how you can live a vegan lifestyle and feel so much better.  If my grocery cart looked like theirs did when they were done I might have felt just as bad as if I filled my cart with meat from animals I didn't think were treated humanely.  Everything in their cart was in an aluminum envelope, a cardboard box or a plastic wrapper. No fresh vegetables.   It wasn't like they spent their time in the produce section.  I saw nothing healthy about they way she was teaching folks to eat.  Ok, off my highhorse.

After Tommy left, Ed and Joanie (Witty and Jimmy's previous owners) came over to look at one of my goats I'm considering selling.  Wouldn't you know it, 2 hours before they arrived she began acting like she was in labor.  She's not due till March 10th so I was  afraid she was miscarrying.  They didn't get a chance to handle her or see her at her best.  Not much I could do about that.  Once they left she seemed to feel more like herself.  I'm not sure if it was because of the molasses water I gave her, the shot of Banamine for pain or if it was just a matter of time till she was back to feeling more like herself. I kind of think she put on the act because she knew I was considering selling her.  After she and I spent some time cuddling I felt like maybe I should keep her.  How am I going to sell all those babies this year?

More company arrived after the Ed and Joanie.  It was my friend, Emily, who I bought the donkey from, her mom, sister, niece and daughter.  The donkeys behaved and showed how sweet they can be, but not after first playing hard to get.  I loved showing Chy and Shiloh off to them.

It was a great day hanging out with other people who love farm animals.  My goats, donkeys and chickens have introduced me to so many interesting people.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The joys of goats and donkeys

Since I wrote about a bad goat experience yesterday I thought I'd tell you about my day today which was a fun and somewhat successful animal day. 

This morning I went to a friend's house to help disbud their 5 day old Nubian baby boy.  He's a dollbaby.  I think you'll agree.
His name is Jasper and he's going to be a cart goat.  His 12 year old owner is going to teach him to pull a cart.  I think that's so cool.

He was so brave about the whole disbudding thing.  He never cried as we shaved the top of his head and I think he only cried out once when we burned the horn buds.  When we were done he cuddled and acted like nothing had happened.  I was very impressed with him.  I hope we did a good job.

It was such a beautiful day today, sunny and 65 degrees.  James and I took the dogs to our field.  I walked and James ran.  The dogs did both.  As I walked I thought about how I'd love for our goats to be able to browse the field.  There's so much more for them to eat over there.  After our 6 laps we went home and I loaded Daisy and her mom, Polly, up in the station wagon for a special treat - a field trip you might call it.  I drove them to the field and took them to the farthest point so they couldn't see the other goats.  I thought they'd be thrilled with all the foliage to nibble on.  Nope.  They freaked out and ran straight toward our house.  I chased after them with a plastic tub of corn.  We got halfway across the 26 acre field when they finally got interested in my bribe.  I grabbed Polly by the collar and led her back to the station wagon.  Daisy followed.  I drove them home and they ran straight to the barn door and their goat lot that has nothing for them to browse on.  Go figure.  It was all very comical but disappointing.  I wonder if they  would have stayed over there if the rest of the goats were with them.

It's a shame that we have these animals and all that acreage and they don't get to enjoy it.  That led me to Chy, my mama donkey.  I'd love to take the donkeys over to the field too.  I haven't worked hard enough with her to get her to walk on a lead so I decided today was the day since it was so pretty out.  Again, I bribed with treats.  I clipped the lead rope on her halter and she briefly pulled away.  I didn't give up like I so often do, for fear I'll upset her.  She didn't resist for too long.  Donkeys are smart and very cautious.  Fortunately Chy has come to trust me these past 6 months and I think she wants to please me.  I really do.  We didn't go very far, 5 steps this way and 5 steps that way,  but I think it was a successful training session.  When we were done she was very affectionate.  She wanted hugs and scratches.  I felt really good about it.  I need to be more disciplined about my training.  Maybe one day I'll be able to walk her over to better grazing in the field.  I'd put her in the station wagon but I don't know how I'd get Shiloh in there with her too.

I'll take days like this any day over the disastrous kidding 2 nights ago but it's all part of owning animals and I'm thankful for every one of the experiences, good or bad.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Daisy's first and possibly last kidding

Unless Daisy grows over the next year she won't be having any more babies.  Last night was a stressful night.  James and I went out to check on Daisy around 7:40.  She was in the beginning stages of labor.  It wasn't long before "the bubble" showed, which is usually exciting but this time there were no feet showing in the bubble.  Her water broke and no baby followed.  I wasn't too concerned yet because it was still early.  During each contraction it never looked like she was pushing very hard.  She never cried out.  I stuck one finger in her when she had a contraction and felt a hoof but it never progressed from there.  It wasn't advancing.  I don't know how much time had passed before I put a few more fingers in and pulled the leg.  I could only find one.  After about one hour of one leg sticking out Daisy was worn out and tightening up.  I could barely get 3 fingers in so I asked my friend, Lauren, if she could try because her hand looked smaller than mine.  No luck.  By now we were pretty sure the baby was dead.  I began pulling on the leg harder than I wanted, afraid I was going to do damage to Daisy but I was running out of options and hope.

James and I had discussed over a month earlier that we would put her down if things got bad so she wouldn't have to suffer.  I don't know how you decide when you get to that point but it kept passing through my mind.  I couldn't give up.  James held her little body tight while I pulled with all my might, and I mean ALL of my strength, till the baby's butt came out.  It was then I finally saw the other rear leg tucked forward.  I pulled it out and then the head.  I was so afraid her uterus would come out too since I pulled so hard and her contraction was so mild.  We were all relieved but Daisy looked beat.  James got her some molasses water which she drank pretty heartily at first then she kind of stared into space.  I went inside to get some banamine for the pain and swelling.  When I came back out she had already passed the placenta.  I'm glad I didn't have to worry about a retained placenta on top of everything else.

Somewhere in all that mess I called our vet's office even though I didn't know what they could do at that late time.  I couldn't reach them.  To make a long story short, they eventually called me after the baby was out and told me to give her penicillin for the next 5 days.  James buried the baby (girl) and I laid in the straw with Daisy for a while then came in the house because there was nothing left to do.  I felt shaky and anxious, too anxious to sleep.  I think I got about 2 hours sleep all night.  I kept replaying the scene in my head over and over again.  I got up at 4:30 and watched TV to take my mind off it.  I didn't check on Daisy till it got light out because I didn't want to disturb anyone and there was nothing I could do anyway.  At 7:00 I walked outside and the goats started screaming at me as they always do.  In all that noise I heard Daisy's very insistent call.   I was never so glad to hear her voice than that moment.  I had her closed in a stall and she wanted to be out.

She's doing really well today except for the swelling.  I gave her and antibiotic and anti inflammatory.  It's going to take time for her to heal but we feel really lucky things turned out as well as they did under the circumstances.  What a tough little cookie she is.  I thought this baby would be tiny.  It was probably twice the size Daisy and her brother were when they were born. 

The next goat isn't due to kid till at least Feb. 28th or later.  I'm glad it's not too soon.  I need to recover from this one.  James told me today he had no idea 24 years ago when we met that this is what we'd be doing.  I don't know how I could have done that last night without him and Lauren there for support.  Thanks again you guys.